Recently, a partner at a professional services firm queried me as to the utility or desirability of connecting on LinkedIn to people with whom he works. An excellent question. I told him that it was advisable because it is a way of learning more about what your co-workers do. We think we know all the skill sets, expertise and work experiences of our co-worker across the hall or next door. Assuredly, we do not know the extent of what our colleagues have done and can do. Assuming your colleagues’ LinkedIn profiles are sufficiently built out, you will learn things you never knew about them. For example, you might find yourself saying something like: “I did not know Bill spoke Turkish” or “I did not know Sally used to work for IBM” or “I did not know Abdul has a software patent.”
Also when your colleagues post their updates on LinkedIn, you will learn what new civic, professional, and personal interests in which they are currently involved. This gives you and your colleagues opportunities for discussion and connectedness and helps build a team culture – an imperative for successful organizations.
Finally, seeing each other’s connections allows for and should promote opportunities to coordinate business or civic development efforts for your firm and to support each other.